In My Greenhouse: Food and pests
Luckily all BC Greenhouses have an aluminum structure because wood shrinks and grows with changes in weather and gets eaten by bugs. I know this because, sadly, the planters inside my greenhouse are being chewed to bits by bugs called pillbugs (also known as roly poly and wood lice.)
When Bob Rowe is filming in my greenhouse I show him how irritating wood can be. The pillbugs are eating my wood planters and I show him what these pests look like.
This single pillbug is eating a huge dent in a single strawberry growing on the ground in my greenhouse. Luckily a commercial grower emailed me the secret to eliminating these pests in the greenhouse. Remove all wood and sprinkle cornmeal around the base of plants. Repeat cornmeal as needed.[/caption]
These creatures are so voracious the wood in the planter is actually falling apart in some places. While Bob is filming I pick up a pillbug to show him and it starts dropping live young. I am so shocked. I have never seen this before in my 40 years of gardening.
Crispy crunchy Oregon Giant peas are so delicious from my greenhouse. I also have them planted outside because when they start producing there I’ll pull out the ones from my greenhouse.[/caption]
I thought pillbugs were like aphids – which also lay live young – but I found out the mother bug (actually a crustacean) carries her young in a pouch like a kangaroo and when I picked up this mother she dropped her whole load. (I am not sure if anyone else is as excited about this as I was. You can watch the whole video on youtube including a tour of the greenhouse this week and the exploding mother load of baby bugs.)
Luckily a commercial market grower conveniently told me her secret for pillbug control. She uses cornmeal, scattered around the sensitive plants and wood planters, to lure and kill pillbugs. I tried it and it seems to be working. Every time it disappears or gets wet I have to add more. But Damn Covid-19. I can’t get any more cornmeal from the grocery store right now. I will add more as soon as I can because strawberry damage has been eliminated after the first cornmeal sprinkle.
Meanwhile I am seeing helpful bugs everywhere else in my garden: Ladybugs and hoverflies are defending my plants. Wasps are on standby to eat cabbage moths.
Jade Organic French beans in my greenhouse have been supplying us with beans for two weeks now.
I am so excited these bugs eat so many of the aphids and other bothersome insects in our gardens. Also, see the above photo of the Jade Organic beans in my greenhouse. I grow these to attract spider mites. If I see spider mites, I can order the bigger mite (persimmilis) to eat the spider mites. Meanwhile, I am eating a lot of great beans and no sign of mites yet.
Baby Tiger zucchini is striped like a tiger but is not small like a baby. This one is currently spilling out of the beds in my greenhouse. PS Note the pale silvery spots on zucchini leaves. This is normal and is not an early sign of powdery mildew.
In the middle of this shot you can see the tiny striped Baby Tiger zucchini just starting to grow.
PS We are not just raising bugs in our greenhouse. We are also raising dinner and this week we have so many fresh foods to pick from. Yummy.
Dinner harvested from our greenhouse this week includes so many tasty things : Baby Tiger striped zucchini, Jade organic green beans, Eleonara Basil (sprinkled on beans), Oregon Giant peas, Topsi radish, green onions and parsley in the Quinoa salad (we didn’t grow the Quinoa but we have in the past.)
PS The pink poppy shown at the top sprouted from nowhere but I let it bloom in the greenhouse and cut it down before it ripened seeds. I love these poppies and the seeds are edible but they can really spread if you are not careful.
Donna Balzer is the Brand Ambassador for BCGreenhouse Builders and she has two greenhouses in her big backyard.
What Would Donna Do?
Get my growing and gardening tips and pointers throughout the season.